Posts Tagged ‘Dothan

On behalf of my brothers and sisters, Yollie, Alex, Leo, Richard, Tricia and myself, I’m Ceci (or CC or Sissy) but it really doesn’t matter what you call me as long as I know who I am at the end of the day. We’d like to thank you for coming here today to help us celebrate the life of our precious mother, Fina Urrutia.
I am not here to quanitfy or qualify anyone’s relationship with my mom. We all have great memories, but only one of us could speak- for 3 minutes- so if I start to sound like an auctioneer, youll know why.

At first, the task of giving the eulogy was given to our honorary brother Doc Schneider who we certainly love dearly… and even though he’s won an award argueing in the Supreme Court, I knew he wouldn’t mind if I insisted on sharing about who my mother was.

I must say how surprised I am that she outlived our father. He was the robust, healthy, outgoing one and she was right at home in his shadow. It’s no wonder, in a Universe that is literally, constantly expanding that we are meant to expand also. This quiet, submissive, shy woman is absolute proof that we are all expanding, in that life gets better and better. God wants our cups to overflow and hers sure did.

It’s a shame that Hollywood literally teaches that the best way to write a script is the rollercoaster with ups and downs and plot twists- as if it’s just too boring to just get better and better. Well, after 50 years of wedded bliss, my father passed and we all wondered how mom would take it. Of course she missed him dearly and talked of him so often, but as time would tell, her memory would not.

Whether she had dementia or Alzheirmers, it really doesn’t matter. The most outstanding gift of her condition is that she bloomed into a beautiful witty, charming, outgoing woman. And she took every opportunity to talk to strangers, growing more beautiful with age. And why did she improve so much with each waking moment? Because she no longer had the mental capacity to hold on to negative memories, hold grudges, embrace resentment or be friends with jealousy.

The blessing for her was that she was right where she belonged- where we all belong- in the beautiful powerful now. A drive to Dothan, a cup of coffee, a shower, a fun game, she listed the positive aspects of those experiences and she was so grateful and she spoke those words out loud. She did what we are all called to do- count our blessings- go specific as possible when things are great, and as general or maybe even silent when things are not. Her strong faith in the Holy trinity and her passion for Mary was clear to see and she was incapable of ending a phone convo without saying “God bless you.”

We’ve all heard that Laughter is the best medicine and my all time favorite thing was to make her laugh. We kept each other in stitches. After Dad passed she lived in Dothan for about 5 years and then moved near me in in PC for 5 years and most mornings I’d call to say good morning and it usually went like this.
Me, “Good morning how are you today?”
Mom, “Fine. I slept like a baby.”
Me, “WEll, you know why don’t you?”
Mom, “Why?”
Me, “Because you ARE a baby!”
Such a thrill to me to hear her crack up laughing!

Sometimes we’d be in my car running errands. She’d often ask to borrow my Lipstick. On one occasion she pulled down the visor mirror, took a good long look and said, “Boy I must be getting older because I just keep getting uglier and uglier. And without missing a beat I said, “Oh no, when I was little you were a lot uglier. I thing you keep getting prettier and prettier.” She literally threw her head back in laughter.

At Provision Living- the assisted living facility where she lived next to me, she was everyone’s favorite. She was voted Mardi Gras Queen two years in a row, but was also the queen of her table. She told all the jokes and kept everyone in stiches. She always asked the nurses for a beer with her pills, until one day a nurse asked me if they should really get her one. No that’s just mom just trying to get a rise out of someone!

Well about a year ago, Mom got seriously ill and we learned that she only had one functioning kidney and that was just 30%. The first time she got dialysis it was literally life saving- the process of filtering the blood, removing toxins, keeping electrolytes in balance. I am amazed that our God created something so small and man in his greatest wisdom can only make a machine so big….

This last year was often difficult as we siblings struggled to make sense of how to move forward regarding Mom’s health. None of us were right or wrong- we simply had different perspectives of who she was to us. Like the fable about the six blind men touching the elephant. 6 perspectives. All different. All seemingly right. But none taking in the big picture. I see this. I see that. Well, we’ll return to the elephant in just a minute.

I am convinced that the hearstrings connecting my mother to her 6 children were made of titanium, no matter where each one lived, no matter how often she saw them it simply didn’t matter. Last week, I had a restless night- tossing and turning trying to wrap my head around the situation. My Tre’ who is almost 3 and is adopted was sleeping on the floor by my bed. Suddenly he sat straight up and said, “I need to tell Mama I love her.” I reached out and took him into my arms to cuddle him in bed. This speaks volumes about the heartstrings connecting every mother to her children.

Every time mom saw Tre’ she’d ask, “Is he yours?” Me, “Yes Mama.” Mom, “Who would give away a beautiful baby like that?” Me, “Someone who could have done something worse, someone who knew we needed a little boy to love.” Just like the movie Groundhog Day, she’d repeat this line of questioning about 5 times in the next 5 mins. I was tempted once or twice to have a little fun by getting real creative and giving far out ridiculous answers to her repetitive questions, but I refrained.

She had a sharp wit. Our neighbor Nat, an orthotist/prosthetist, you know one who makes and fits artificial limbs for those in need, stopped in to see her one day at Healthsouth. “Hi, I’m Nat, Ceci and George are my next door neighbors. Mom immediately piped up, “Well are you bragging or complaining?”

She loved to play cards and about two weeks ago we played Kings Corners at my inlaws’ house- Cion and Dino. My father-in-law stood by looking at her cards, and trying to help he reached in to point at a card she held to suggest that she put it down. Without missing a beat or moving her eyes she grabbed his finger so tight and just held it while studying her cards to the point that I had to get up to pry his fingers out of her death grip.

Now let’s revisit the elephant. This time let me tell you what I think about certain parts of the elephant as they relate to mom. My perspective. The Heart- well, that would be my brother Leo because anyone who knows him knows he has a heart bigger than all outdoors. a servants heart. the errand boy. He loved to visit mom and take her shopping just to see what trouble they could get into driving the electric wheelchairs. The brain- well half goes to my brother Richard and half to my brother Alex. They share the strong qualities of gathering all the facts, processing them and being as objective as possible. Considering all options. The Lungs- that would be my sister Yollie as her gift is to breathe life and energy into every room she enters. Energizer bunny and upbeat..
The Legs, those would be my sister Tricia and her devoted husband Tony because they carried the weight of responsiblity of caring for mom and dad in Dothan with a dedication and love unsurpassed by any. You will never know all the small, medium and large gestures of caring for an elderly parent unless you walk in their shoes.
The Ivory tusks.- I need to single Tricia out on this one as that rare commodity- in her deliberate choice to stay in Dothan, when she could have gone anywhere. What a treasure for parents to have one child who remains nearby- and she did it out of desire not obligation.

Where does that leave me? I see myself as the kidneys of the elephant. I feel as though I spent the last 5 years and the last one especially, filtering out all the toxins from Mom’s life, by that I mean the forgetfulness, the moments of confusion, etc. I deliberately focused on circulating the beautiful stories of all her “good blood” all her positive aspects.

I urge you to let go of any negativity from your past; fear, hate, jealousy, regret and refuse to bring that into your powerful positive NOW moment. Whether you have one great memory of this amazing woman or one million- it doesn’t matter because in the eternal nature of a memory- one is all you need.

You don’t have to get dementia or Alzheimers to let go of the hurt from the past. Make a deliberate choice. Practice letting it go sooner and sooner and go play a game, cards, bingo, it gets better with time. A week at my sister’s was a week of bliss for my mom, surrounded by family, games, a beautiful room, constant attention. I’d take that one week any day over another year in a facility where she often felt lonely and anxious.

I’m convinced God speaks to us through others as the last time I saw my mother fully alive she was sitting in her brown chair. She leaned forward and said, unsolicited, “You know I have so much to be thankful for I have my family, this beautiful room… not everybody has what I have. Some people have nothing. If you see someone sitting alone you should walk up to them and say, “Hi how are you today?” Me, “Yes, Mama you do have a lot to be thankful for.”

My mother signed several cards thru my life time like this- “I love you little I love you big. I love you like a little pig.” So here’s a convenient little segue to invite you to come pig out with us after the funeral around 1:00 at my sister Tricia’s house if you’d like to come share some memories of my Mom. Thank you for loving our Mother and God Bless you!



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